Tim Merlier wins Bredene Koksijde Classic: Daily News

The news on Friday was all over the board, with a sprinters race in Belgium, a contract extension for an American hero, and the release of L39ion of LA's 2021 kit.

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Hello again CyclingTips readers,

The news on Friday was all over the board, with a sprinters race in Belgium, a contract extension for an American hero, and the release of L39ion of LA’s 2021 kit.

Read on for more news from the cycling world.

Abby Mickey
Associate Editor

What’s News?

Tim Merlier wins Bredene Koksijde Classic

Tim Merlier sprinted to his third victory of 2021 at the Bredene Koksijde Classic. The former Belgian national champion topped Mads Pedersen and Florian Sénéchal to take the victory.

The race was split into three groups early on, with a break of 13 leading the charge. Their advantage was slim, and once the race entered the finishing laps in Koksijde the two leading groups merged to form a reduced peloton.

Just before the two groups fuzed together Lukas Pöstlberger attempted a solo victory, but the Bora-Hansgrohe rider was caught with only 1.4 km to go, opening up the finale to a bunch sprint.

Merlier started his sprint early but Pedersen and Sénéchal didn’t have the legs to come around the Alpecin-Fenix rider.

“I think I’m on the same level as when I won the Belgian Championships. I was not good, my legs were acidifying. At the first passage on the Kemmelberg, I was too far back. I really thought my race was over,” Merlier said after the race. “In the end, I looked backwards, which I really shouldn’t have done. It drives me crazy. But then I saw I had a few lengths and I laid me flat. I am happy because last year I did not reach this level.”


1 MERLIER Tim (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:13:43
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek-Segafredo) st
3 SENECHAL Florian (Deceuninck-QuickStep) st
4 ASBROECK Tom van (Israel Start-Up Nation) st
5 GROSU Eduard-Michael (Delko) st
6 ANIOLKOWSKI Stanislaw (Bingoal WB) st
7 WALSCHEID Maximilian (Team Qhubeka Assos) st
8 WELTEN Bram (Team Arkea-Samsic) st
9 POLITT Nils (Bora-Hansgrohe) st
10 LEMOINE Cyril (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) st

You can watch highlights here.

Alpecin-Fenix will not race Volta a Catalunya due to COVID-19 positive staff members

Alpecin-Fenix announced that they will not race the Volta a Catalunya after three staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The team had not yet travelled to Spain for the event when their staff received their positive COVID-19 results. In a statement, the team said that they did not have the ability to replace the staff members now in quarantine and therefore had to withdraw from the WorldTour stage race.

“Three members of Alpecin-Fenix recently returned positive test results. In order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, it has been decided to isolate and quarantine all the team’s staff that were supposed to travel to the Volta,” the team said in a statement. “Given that it’s impossible for our team to replace the entire staff for the Volta, therefore in accordance with the organisers, we will not be present at the centenary edition of the Volta.”

Sepp Kuss signs contract extension with Jumbo-Visma through 2024

Sepp Kuss has signed an extension to stick with Jumbo-Visma through the 2024 season, the team announced on Friday.

The 26-year-old American has been with the squad since 2018, when he came over from the Rally team. Since then, he has emerged as a key support rider for the Grand Tours while also taking some strong results of his own, including the overall win and three stages at the 2018 Tour of Utah, a stage win at the 2019 Vuelta a España, and a stage win at the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné.

Read Dane Cash’s full report here.

Tom Pidcock targets Olympic mountain bike race

With an eye on the Olympic mountain bike race later this summer, Tom Pidcock will race MTB World Cups in addition to his planned road calendar. Ineos Grenadiers have announced that Pidcock will line up for three mountain bike World Cups with the goal of being selected to represent Great Britain on the dirt in Tokyo.

The plan is for Pidcock to race the Swiss Bike Cup before heading to Albstadt, Germany in May to race the first cross country World Cup. Selection for the GB Olympic team is based on World Cup results, so Pidcock will also race the World Cup events in the Czech Republic and Austria.

The U23 XCO champion has already proved useful to Ineos Grenadiers on the road since joining the team after the Cyclocross World Championships. He was part of a stacked final selection at Strade Bianche alongside Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and finished 3rd at Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne at the end of February.

Richard Freeman loses medical licence following guilty verdict

Richard Freeman, former Team Sky and British Cycling team doctor has been stripped of his medical licence after he was found guilty of buying testosterone for an unknown rider. The tribunal is also considering stripping Freeman of his licence to practice medicine immediately, rather than wait the obligatory 28 days.

“The Tribunal considered that Dr Freeman’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration,” the verdict read. “The Tribunal has therefore determined that erasure is the only sufficient sanction which would protect patients, maintain public confidence in the profession and send a clear message to Dr Freeman, the profession and the public that his misconduct constituted behaviour unbefitting and incompatible with that of a registered doctor.”

Neither Team Sky nor British Cycling have commented on this new development.

L39ion of LA drop new kit in partnership with Zwift

L39ion of LA debuted their 2021 Rapha look, inspired by the landscape of Zwift. The slate and orange design is a nod to the volcanoes that have featured in the virtual riding world since the very beginning of Watopia.

“The inspiration for the design came from one of Watopia’s most distinctive features – the Volcano. Volcanoes are disruptive forces, they are unstoppable, but ultimately they are the creators of new worlds,” Williams said in a press release. “This felt like the perfect way to tell the story of our partnership – two disruptive brands born in LA on a mission to make the world a better and more inclusive place.”

The kit is available on the Rapha website and all sales will go right back to helping the team fund their racing goals.

Women’s Cycling Weekly Issue 17

“It really feels like the season is starting to taking shape now and the races are coming thick and fast. Everyone’s banging on about some 300km men’s race that’s on but we know it’s all about the two WWT races coming up in the next seven days, Trofeo Alfredo Binda on Sunday and Brugge-De Panne on Thursday. Elsewhere, there’s been a re-jig of the calendar with some races being given new slots and, soz to end on a bum note here, but Paris Roubaix looks to be in jeopardy again 💔.”

Ready Amy Jones full Women’s Cycling Weekly here.

Coming Up

The first monument of the season is tomorrow. Wout van Aert, Greg van Avermaet, Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and more will line up to take on the 299 km long race from Milan to Sanremo. For a full in-depth look at the event check out Matt de Neef’s preview here.

On Sunday the women will line up for their second WorldTour race of the year in Cittiglio, Italy. Trofeo Alfredo Binda is a favourite amongst the peloton for its unpredictable nature. Will Marianne Vos take her fifth victory in Cittiglio or could Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig finally win a WorldTour event? All eyes will be on SD Worx after their dominant performances so far this year. For more information on Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the course, the contenders and the live coverage click here.

In case you missed it…

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  • The Freewheeling podcast is now weekly! This week Abby, Loren, and Amy chat about the SD Worx domination and the upcoming Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

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